Monitoring legislative oversight and accountability for sector based transformation in South Africa : a petroleum downstream perspective

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 16
  • SDG 12
  • Abstract:

    Parliamentary Portfolio Committees are engine rooms in legislatures, as their key role includes ensuring policy objectives are met through effective implementation by the executive branch and State owned Enterprises (SoEs), quality oversight and enforced accountability. In South Africa, transformation targeted at Historically Disadvantaged South Africans (HDSA) has been a government mandate since the dawn of democracy in 1994, given the dispossession and disempowerment that disadvantaged South Africans suffered under the Apartheid government. In this article, an empirical investigation to evaluate effectiveness of legislative oversight and accountability towards ensuring transformation targeted at HDSAs in the petroleum downstream industry is conducted. The research relied on qualitativetriangulation research paradigm; gathering information through observations, document analysis and interviews with relevant committees. The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Energy (PPCE), which oversees the petroleum industry, among other sectors, was the major focus of the investigation. The PPCE conduct numerous activities such as ‘questioning, committee hearings, legislation processing, and site visits’ in order to ensure that government departments and relevant SoEs are up to date on implementation of policy. From these activities, researchers analysed the quality and focus of ‘questioning’ conducted by parliamentarians in the period 2009 to 2014. Research revealed that PPCE questions for instance were insufficiently linked to HDSA transformation in the petroleum industry and for which oversight is sought.